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5G 2021

Why the UK 5G ecosystem is vibrant and flourishing

iStock / Getty Images Plus / YiuCheung

Robert Driver

Head of UK5G

The benefits of 5G are reaching several industry sectors and can not only help improve our communication, but also our health and wellbeing.

Society depends on connectivity. The benefits of advanced communication technologies, such as 5G, are wide-ranging and far-reaching. They have the power to remould businesses and the public sector, significantly altering the lives of UK citizens through their impact on social and economic structures. And it’s happening right now.

The applications of 5G technology

Disadvantaged citizens based in Liverpool are currently being supported via private 5G networks in their homes. In rural areas, high-speed mobile connectivity is democratising people’s communication and as a result, facilitating cross-country relations.

Increased efficiency is improving the customer experience in manufacturing, driving quality and reliability nationwide; and applications of the latest communications and artificial intelligence technology are optimising traffic lights to inform new road user policies.

Soon, 5G will be impacting everyone, everywhere.

Improving community health and wellbeing

Plans are in place for 5G to enable health and wellbeing improvements to be monitored via virtual reality headsets in Cornwall, where around 100 people are prescribed walks around the Eden Project each week by their GPs. Meanwhile, a project led by BT is envisioning sporting and cultural events presented as augmented reality experiences alongside live television as the future of entertainment.

Clearly, 5G can add value to a range of sectors. Our ecosystem in the UK is vibrant and flourishing. Companies trialling 5G networks and technologies, supported by Government’s Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport, are drawn from transport, health and social care, industrial manufacturing and construction, creative media and sport, mobility ports and logistics, and telco supply chain diversification.

Such companies vary from small, independent start-ups to multinational corporations. Candour Productions, a female-led television company based in Leeds, will use 5G to live stream vast amounts of video. Nissan intends to connect autonomous and remotely controlled 40-tonne trucks to distribute parts and assemblies across the Nissan plant and local businesses in their supply chain. These projects impressively span all four UK nations, touching citizens based in Scotland’s Shetland Islands down to those in Cornwall.

Post-pandemic recovery

5G innovation will play a critical role in rebuilding the UK economy post-pandemic: offering more reliability, ultra-low latency, increased availability and a substantial increase in network capacity. It will enable the free flowing of traffic within the virtual healthcare industry, which is expected to exceed $2.6 trillion globally by 2025, up from $2 trillion last year, with most of that growth propelled by telehealth and artificial intelligence.

Manufacturing—facing problems due to COVID-19—should also see a notable productivity boost. Soon, 5G will be impacting everyone, everywhere.

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